What develops along with the development of second language writing? Exploring the "by-products"

Helen Katznelson, Hadara Perpignan, Bella Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The intuitive notion that students undergo unexpected yet profound changes as participants in writing courses has been shared by many writing teachers but, to our knowledge, has not been systematically examined. This exploratory study investigates predicted and unpredicted changes that learners undergo as they develop writing skills in EFL Academic Writing courses. These changes - considered to develop along with the writing skills - were examined quantitatively and qualitatively in an earlier study (Katznelson, Perpignan, & Rubin, 1999). Writing courses as agents of transformation: an exploratory study [CD-ROM]. Proceedings of the TDTR4 IATEFL Conference, Leuven, Belgium.]. In the present study, we report on the qualitative data elicited from learners' self-reports which yielded three perceived categories of changes: outcomes in writing in English, outcomes in writing in general, and our major category - "by-products" of writing courses, some of which expressed learners' perceptions of intrapersonal and interpersonal development. Many of these perceived outcomes corresponded to the highest of six levels of learning outcomes defined by Marton, Dall'Alba, and Beaty (1989) as "changing as a person." These findings may lead to a better understanding of the nature and range of changes learners undergo in Academic Writing courses, providing a basis for reviewing the aims of such courses and leading us to reexamine the overall educational value of the teaching of Academic Writing to university students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-159
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Second Language Writing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2001


  • Academic writing
  • Along with
  • By-products
  • Change
  • Perceived outcomes


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